In 2018, the Fantasy Sports industry is set to change in dramatic ways. The two leading companies in the space, FanDuel and DraftKings, were forced to merge following a legal battle with federal authorities and an early exit from New York state.

 As a result of this merger and the entrance of new players into the space — most notably Disney — we can expect to see an accelerated trend towards consolidation among fantasy sports operators.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how all these changes will affect you as a player, download our eBook on “How To Prepare Your Team For Post-Merger Fanduel”.

What is going to be changed in the sports industry ?

1. This will become much more expensive.

Some of this will come from the staggered entry of new companies into the space. We might see some early entrants offering a bare-bones product designed to get you past the most difficult obstacles on your road to competitive fantasy sports. 

But the really interesting changes will be those that come from within the companies themselves — primarily, consolidation among operators and increased costs to players.

 The former is likely to be driven by two factors: 

(1) the consolidation around a limited number of big players who can take advantage of economies of scale.

 (2) by regulation limiting what operators can do with data in order to prevent any further abuses.

The latter will be driven by the desire to improve user experience — which is still poor despite massive improvements from when I first started playing — in order to create sustainable revenue models.

2. Sports will be more expensive for consumers.

As with any consolidation, players can expect to see higher costs across the board. It seems likely that this could come in the form of paywalls and/or higher costs per game or league entry fee, but there may also be an opportunity for Fantasy Sports operators to leverage their pricing power with existing partners — like ESPN and Yahoo— in exchange for a cut of advertising revenue that would then be used to lower costs for players.

3. “The Field” will be further reduced.

This will happen as a result of paywalls, consolidation and poor player experience. Only the most dedicated players will continue to play, and so there will be less competition for players at all levels of experience. The result: more predictable content and more meaningful data for participants.

4. “The Industry” will become better understood for casual consumers.

Because the fantasy sports industry has been so heavily dominated by professional players and media — who almost never discuss their interests or experiences — new players have very little in the way of context from which to make a decision when they join a site. 

As a result, they find themselves viewing content produced by professionals and pundits who are presented as leaders in the industry but whose points of view are often misinformed and incomplete.

 As more companies enter the space, it’s possible that we’ll see more transparency in how money is made within Fantasy Sports companies to provide incentive for new participants to be more informed about what’s happening around them.

5. Our community mission will become clearer.

The fantasy sports industry has not yet figured out how to address real problems for consumers, and so there is a gap between what we want to do and what we can do— namely, provide meaningful advice to players who don’t already know everything about the game they want to play. 

Our strategic approach at Hypothesis is based on this knowledge — that the opportunity ahead will be one that focuses on improving the quality of content available and building relationships with players that allow us to help them even during the times when they’re struggling and when they’re enjoying success. We believe that the fantasy sports industry must move to a more symbiotic environment where content producers can be both highly successful and have a special interest in helping their consumers succeed.

6. Sports will be less fun for fans.

The result may be the same as what happened to baseball fans before the 1990s, when dedicated fans found that they were being pushed aside as professional teams moved towards increased ticket sales and television money, but it’s also possible that there will be an increase in “content farms” where professional players’ views of sports are diluted by a constant flow of new sports personalities. 

It’s important to note, however, that this trend holds true for all traditional media industries — by which I mean everything other than the internet. The point is that in our current economy, we’ll see more consolidation in the industry and less transparency — which will inevitably lead to fewer options for consumers.

7. We’ll see a lot of good stuff happen in the fantasy sports industry.

As with any industry that undergoes consolidation, it’s necessary to see things break down artificially so that new opportunities can emerge as a result of a disruption in the status quo. Some of this disruption may come from new companies that fill gaps for consumers, content producers and/or media outlets .


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